Cyclone Rene has hit northern Tonga, causing widespread damage and cutting off communications with other parts of the country.

Reports from the northern Vava'u island group in the pre-dawn hours local time Monday said the storm blew down trees, damaged crops and sparked coastal flooding.

Forecasters said they expect the cyclone to head toward the main island of Tongatapu later Monday.

The winds at Rene's center were estimated at 167 kilometers per hour with gusts of up to 230 kilometers per hour.

Earlier, the storm brushed past the U.S. territory of American Samoa and the neighboring island nation of Samoa, sparing them from major damage. Authorities in American Samoa say a 50-year old man was killed when he fell from a building while trying to protect it from the cyclone.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.